Gradebook

Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Male student dismissed early for dressing like a girl in Marion County

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Dunnellon High junior Justin Reynolds, who is gay, decided the other day to express himself by dressing differently than usual.

He wore a V-neck shirt, jeans, high-heeled boots, earrings, a necklace, mascara and eyeliner.

"It wasn't anything overdramatic," Reynolds told the Gainesville Sun. "It's an expression of yourself, no matter what. To dress out of your own gender shouldn't be anything."

To school officials, though, his attire was inappropriate and possibly disruptive. After a conversation, Reynolds was dismissed from school early. The Marion district does require that students dress "in keeping with their gender."

It has been made evident that schools can impose and enforce dress codes, which courts tend to back. But here's the bigger question that perhaps you can answer. Why does this matter so much? Isn't education about what goes on in your head, not what goes onto your body?

If a student dresses tastefully — and arguably Justin Reynolds (above) did — what does it matter if he or she has on a certain type or color of clothing?

Discuss among yourselves.

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[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:19am]

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